Guth: Sensible ideas and collaboration to address our issues   |

Guth: Sensible ideas and collaboration to address our issues  

Bill Guth
Bill Guth
Bill Guth updated headshot

Nothing has brought me more joy or fulfillment in my 40 years than creating a life in Aspen with my wife, Lisa, and our three children and raising our family in such an incredible, close-knit community with small-town values and world-class opportunity. 

I am a passionate advocate of Aspen, an entrepreneur, a father, and a husband. I never aspired to be an elected official. 

My desire to impact change where I see opportunity, to ensure our town’s success for future generations — like for my own children Levi, Estie, and Isabel — and to give back to a community that has been wonderful to my family is what has compelled me to run for Aspen City Council.

Without changing Aspen or re-imagining our downtown core, I want to take a more collaborative approach to our policymaking and work with — not against — the community to implement sensible, pragmatic solutions that will meaningfully improve upon issues that impact our lives daily.

Workforce housing, affordable and locally-owned and serving businesses (especially restaurants and retail), and traffic are my top three issues. Child care and construction are also priorities. If elected, I will bring my insight as a parent raising children in today’s Aspen and a professional background in development and real estate when considering the challenges our community faces in both of these arenas. 

I want to help restore the balance of perspectives on City Council and offer broader consideration to Aspen’s many stakeholders: local residents, including APCHA and free-market homeowners and renters; business owners as well as people who live just outside the city limits and beyond; commuters; the Latino community; second-home owners; and visitors.  

Many in our community, myself included, do not feel represented by our current council. Our elected officials continue to consistently vote unanimously on issues. This, to me, reveals a clear lack of diversity in thought at best and is antithetical to the democratic process at worst.   

Among the many voices missing from our current leaders are those who know what it’s like to raise children or start and operate a business in Aspen. 

I want to bring these perspectives — alongside tangible ideas, practical solutions and 20+ years of leadership, and business experience — to the current council table to ensure Aspen remains the greatest ski resort community in the world. 

Workforce housing No. 1

Aspen’s greatest asset is our people. Credit is due to APCHA’s pioneers — paving the way for the housing crisis we face today. Without APCHA, our economically diverse community would cease to exist. 

That said, we need to be more pro-active, develop more workforce housing, and modernize our regulations to meet present-day and future demands. 

Like it or not, the city of Aspen is our biggest developer. And we have big development in the pipeline, to which we need to better employ our financial and emotional capital. We can and should use our resources — including our dollars, knowledge, skills, access to developers, AAA credit rating, etc. — to create new housing opportunities more efficiently. 

My first strategy is to pursue more public-private partnerships. Our newest three, deed-restricted rentals on Main Street, Park Avenue, and Castle Creek Road are a perfect example of this type of partnership. 

The end result was a win for the community and all parties — so why aren’t we doing more of this? Let’s double down on this form of collaboration between the public and private sectors.

Secondly, without any risk to current APCHA tenants or residents — and I want to be clear on that — we should optimize APCHA’s regulations to better meet the needs of our current community. 

We need to ensure that the opportunities to live and work in Aspen continue to exist for future generations. This will require us to experiment with new ideas and embrace some changes based on what we’ve learned.

Collaboration instead of penalization

This theme is central to who I am and how I intend to lead in Aspen. It seems that lately, rather than try to leverage the intelligence and experience we have among our friends and neighbors, our leadership seems to always know what’s best and how to do everything.

I think differently. I like to find those who are experts, solicit their input, empower them, and trust them. I don’t claim to be an expert in all things, but I love finding and working with those who are experts in given subjects. I believe Aspen could benefit tremendously from this approach, and the results of our policymaking by doing so would be incredible and obvious. 

A number of people have asked me, as someone involved in local real-estate businesses, whether I would seek to meaningfully alter Aspen’s land-use code or “make it easier for developers.” The answer is no. Decades of thought deliberation formed our code that has uniquely shaped and preserved our built environment and quality of life — aspects of Aspen I value most.

I do believe the code’s review process and building-permit process could be improved, but that does not involve changing what or where one can build. I think we should carefully consider how incentive-focused changes to the code could help improve upon issues such as workforce housing developed by the private sector and locally-serving businesses.

For more on these ideas and my platform, please visit 

Hindsight is 20-20, but I believe there are past council actions (and inactions) where my varied perspectives could have resulted in different outcomes for the betterment of our community. As a father with three children, a business owner, and a developer, the Yellow Brick, the Living Lab, and the Centennial acquisition are three that come to mind, respectively.  

I am asking for your vote, as a leader with a proven track record, to fill these voids and restore balance in Aspen with practical, sensible solutions. 

Thank you, Aspen. 

Bill Guth is running with candidates Skippy Mesirow and Sam Rose for two open spots on the Aspen City Council.


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